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U.S. House of Representatives

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Iraq 59, Us 42, America 19, U.s. 18, United States 13, Afghanistan 5, Obama 5, C-span 4, Obama Administration 4, China 4, Manhattan 4, Washington 3, Feisal Abdul Rauf 3, Islam 3, New York City 3, Vietnam 3, Baghdad 3, Jerry 3, Colin Powell 2, Richard Haas 2,
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  CSPAN    U.S. House of Representatives    News/Business.  

    September 13, 2010
    5:00 - 7:59pm EDT  

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i think you're right, the economy was healthy in 2006. it will be interesting. it's just how long he will embrace the notion and he his republic c >> the u.s. senate returned from their summer break. the nomination is scheduled at 5:30 p.m. eastern. the chamber returns to work and small-business lending bill that has been stalled since midsummer. follow the senate live on c-span 2. and the house returns from its summer recess tuesday at 2:00 p.m. eastern for legislative business. they will take up a handful of bills under suspension of the
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rules. those are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow, members will take a resolution honoring the ninth anniversary of 9/11. on wednesday, they will work on a couple of measures designed to boost domestic manufacturing and a bill dealing with energy efficiency programs for rural areas. watch live house covered starting tuesday at 2:00 p.m. eastern on c-span. >> with the house and senate back in session, followed congress using the cspan video library congressional chronicle. beginning cadets a complete -- you can index a complete list of congressional members. it is free any time. watch you what you want, when you want. >> the people who make the technology are close to having the technology to come up with systems that would allow for you to browse without being tracked. i think that many of these
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companies also make a lot of money by selling the data that is acquired through tracking. >> tonight, the founder of the federal trade commission protection bureau on privacy and the internet. that is on c-span 2. >> the imam leading the effort to build an islamic centered near ground zero said today that he was surprised and saddened by the controversy that erupted around the plant. the comment was made at the council for foreign relations in new york city. this is about one hour. >> good morning. if people could please take their seats. again, good morning to everyone and welcome to the council on foreign relations. my name is richard haas and i'm
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the president of this organization. today we are hosting feisal abdul rauf who is the founder and ceo of the american society for muslim advance. he is also the imam of the mosque here in new york city. that is however part of who he is. he is the founder of the cordova initiative which is dedicated to building bridges between the muslim and non-moslem world. he is also central to plans for the building of a new islamic community center to be built adjacent to ground zero. he is also an author of several books including "what is right for islam." what the scenario will be this morning is imam feisal abdul
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rauf will speak for 50 or 20 minutes and he and i will have a relatively brief conversation after which we will open it to you, our members, for questions. i will give the ground rules there. in the meantime, if anyone has a cell phone or anyone approximating a cell phone, if you please turn it off, not just put it on vibrate which interferes with our phone system, we will be forever grateful. this meeting this morning as you might have figured out from the cameras in the back is on the record. with that, imam feisal abdul rauf, welcome back to the council on foreign relations. thank you very much. [applause]
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>> to customary for members of his lawn to greet the almighty power. the god of jesus christ, the god of mohammed, the god of abraham upon all these noble profits and messages. good morning, ladies and gentleman and thank you. i am indeed honored to be here with you today at this distinguished organization and i think richard haas and the council of foreign relations for giving me the opportunity to speak to you this morning. we come together at a time of great crisis and danger. what began as a dispute over a community center in lower manhattan has spawned an grown into a much larger contrivance
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the about relationship between my beloved religion and my beloved country. between islam and america. the events of the past few weeks have really saddens me to my very core. i regret that some have misunderstood our intentions. i am deeply distressed that in this heated political season some have exploited this issue for their own agendas. i am deeply disappointed that so many of the arguments have been based on deliberate misinformation and harmful stereotypes. despite the disappointments, there is much i am thankful for. first, i am grateful to our mayor, michael bloomberg, and to summon the others who have spoken out in favor of our project. positive responses have filled my heart and i thank them all. to our present -- to president
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barack obama, mr. president, i thank you for your support and for speaking out so forcefully and repeatedly on behalf of religious tolerance and the values that make our country great. i am deeply grateful for your robust assistant effort in making peace in the middle east a priority in your first term. and for all of those who have voiced their objections to our plans with civility, with respect, and with open minds and hearts, i am also grateful. you have a firm of my belief in the decency and morality of the american people. i recognize that among the critics are some who have lost loved ones on 9/11. to all of them, i offered my heartfelt sympathy and my prayer is upon their departed souls. every year, we mark the anniversary with great sadness but with even greater resolve to
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fight against the radical philosophies that have been used to justify these acts. my goal here today is twofold -- first, to reach out to my brothers and sisters of different faiths in america, to explain and share of my love of my religion and second, to reach out to my moslem brothers and sisters all over the world to explain and share my love of america. this is my personal mission and is anchored in my own experience. allow me please to begin by telling you my story. like many of your ancestors, i came to america by boat when i was only 17 years old. we sailed into new york harbor on a sunny and cold winter day in december, 1965, three days before christmas. i remember seeing the statue of liberty for the first time, that beacon of freedom rising and
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looming majestically in the harbor. i remember at miring its strength and beauty and her colors in the morning chris some light. i had no idea what life would be like in america but i looked forward to it. i was born in kuwait to egyptian parents. my father was a religious scholar who studied and graduated at university in cairo and an islamic chemist -- institution of great distinction and learning. he was sent to this country to head a growing muslim community in new york city. he was active in what used to be called the ecumenical movement promoting understanding between different religions, today we call it interfaith dialogue. for me, coming from a country where the majority of us was muslim, i found this society remarkably non-religious, even
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anti-religious. in the 1960's, religion was considered by many to be passe. it was a crutch for the feeble minded. i remember the cover of time magazine that screamed out," is god dead?" this was shocking to me, extraordinary. i thought to myself, this place sure is different. i got my bachelor's in physics at columbia university. i married, raised my children here, and i had a number of occupations, a high-school teacher, a salesman of industrial products, and a struggling writer. i am a typical new yorker, ladies and gentlemen. i am an american. in 1979, i became a naturalized u.s. citizen. i believe and still believe and pledged allegiance to the values of the united states constitution and i know that
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these sacred rights or one by the blood of great american soldiers. my own niece, my own niece currently serves in the united states army. i know that this country was founded by individuals who left their countries of origin because they were unhappy with their government and with the restrictions imposed on religious life and liberties. they wanted something better. participatory government, freedom of speech, separation of church and state, these were among my early as lessons in american civic life. in america, we do protect these differences. we protect different expressions of faith. we assembled in our various houses of worship to pray, to chant, to recycle our sacred scriptures or simply to come together in communion and draw together and trust ranked as a community.
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but religion in america is not imposed on us. we can be a devout or as agnostic as we like. that choice, to be or not to be religious or anything else for that matter, forced me to think about who i was, who i am, what i truly wanted and chose to be. it has given a profound appreciation for the country that provides these freedoms. in that sense, you could say that i found my faith in this country. for me, islam and america are organically bound together. but this is not my story alone. the american way of life has helped many muslims make a conscious decision to embrace their faith. that choice, ladies and gentlemen, is precious.
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that is why america is precious. i discovered that the country that it first had seemed so anti-religious in fact has a profoundly spiritual base and purpose. the founding fathers of this nation were men of faith. within the governing documents they create, the declaration of independence, and the constitution, they affirmed their most sacred spiritual values. these documents are legal expressions of in fact a religious ideal, not parochial, but substantially religious that is rooted in the commandments and principles of the three fates practiced by the people of the book, jews, christians, and muslims. and to remind us even when we are in the market, they imprinted in our currency, "in god we trust."
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since 1983, i have served as the imam or prayer leader of a mosque in tribeca is in the same neighborhood as the world trade center, 12 blocks north. the twin towers to find our skyline and our neighborhood and were part of our daily lives. our congregant's come from all over the world and from every walk of life. from congressman to taxi drivers. on september 11, a number of them tragically lost their lives. our community grieved alongside our neighbors and together we helped slowly rebuild lower manhattan. i belong to this neighborhood, ladies and gentlemen. i am a devout muslim. i pray five times a day, sometimes more if i can. and i observed rituals required by my faith and i am also a
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proud american citizen, let no one forget that. i vote elections. i pay taxes. i pledge allegiance to the flag. and i'm a giants fan. [laughter] i am glad the one yesterday. both of this country and the teachings of my fate of marriage made in fundamental and essential ways and has shaped me. it has shaped and made up my core identity as a human being. ladies and gentleman, as i intimated earlier, this is not just my story. this is the american immigrant story. this is your story. it is that your parents and grandparents. as president obama made clear in his remarks in cairo last year, american muslims have enriched this country throughout its history. since the 1800's, american history as been intertwined with
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the history of moslems. many thousands of african muslims were brought here as slaves. this became their home. 1960's, from and the music of the blues and jazz, they took up the course of freedom in the civil rights movement and we witnessed the emergence of islam and the african-american -- in the african-american community, their struggles and their story is central to the story and the narrative of islam in america. from them, to the more recently emigrated sudanese and minnesota, to the syrians and lebanese and north dakota, to the egyptians and north africans in a story, queens, they are americans. we are americans. does not about them. it is about us. and about who we are and who we want to be.
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as americans. when we fast, pray, donate to charities, observed are commandments we exemplify not only the ideals of the founding fathers, but also the deepest values of our faith traditions. as immigrants, will absorb american culture from generation to generation. the challenge of fitting in is often made more difficult by rejection. other groups and states have found themselves targets of such prejudice. jews and catholics, irish and italian, blacks and hispanics, in times each group has overcome these challenges and our core values have been affirmed. we must overcome. we shall overcome. now, it is our turn as moslems to drink from this cup.
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let me now address the subject of extremism. every religion and the world has extremists. sadly, islam is among them. all faiths have among them those who distort and twist the core values for their own agendas. they advocate positions that we hear and decent people all over the world, and i assure you 99. what ever percent of the muslims and the world fund is at a warrant. let there be no mistake ladies and gentlemen, islam categorically rejects the killing of innocent people. terrorists who violate the sanctity of human life and corrupt the meaning of our faith. in no way do they represent our religion and we must not let them define us.
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radical extremists would have us believe in a theory of a worldwide battle between moslems and non-muslims. some intellectuals and thinkers have furthered that idea. that idea, ladies and gentleman, is false. the real battle front, the real battle that we must wage to gather today is not between moslems and non-muslims, it is between moderates of all the faith traditions against the extremists of all the faith traditions. we must not let the extremists, what ever their fate, whatever their political persuasion hijack the discourse and hijack the media. that only fuels' greater extremism. it is a dangerous, destructive cycle and we must break it. how?
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by creating a coalition of moderates from all the faith positions to combat the extremists. i seek your help. when irresponsible individuals or some in the media equate muslims with nt-americanism, or extremism, and when they say islamic and dahlias are fundamentally violent or domineering all of us are obliged to refute it and refuted loudly, clearly, and unequivocally. for 35 years, i have been explaining the fate of islamic schools and universities, churches and synagogues, and yes, mosques, too. in recent years i have traveled abroad explain the values and institutions of america to people of other national technologies. -- other nationalities, muslim and non muslim. skeptics might ask, why spend time in dialogue?
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from experience, i can tell you that talking can be powerful. as churchill said, better to jaw off war. this can only happen when there is honesty, sincerity of motive, and an open heart. when issues are politicized or used as fodder for commentators on the right or the left, it just poured fuel on the flames of misunderstanding. the need to clear up the money mess understands about islam in america is greater now more than ever. have we not seen these last few weeks how hurtful and how destructive the power of extremist acts and language can be? that is why i remind you that this story is not yet over. what happens right here, right now, in this city, in our city
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matters, it matters more than ever. the way we confront our problems, the way we speak about them, the way we seek to reconcile our differences is watched and is resonating all over the world. i recently returned from a trip abroad on a mission by the state department. i want to bahrain, qatar, and the united arab air mets. it was my fourth trip representing the u.s. government and the american people. on two occasions, i was asked to go on this mission by the bush administration and twice by the obama administration. i am bipartisan. [laughter] these trips are important, ladies and gentlemen, because people all over the world admire and look up to our freedoms and our institutions and they really want them for themselves within their own cultural expression.
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as an american and as a muslim, i believe and i have been told that i can make and have made an important contribution by serving as a messenger, as a bridge by explaining what life is like here in the united states and by helping clear of the many misperceptions and false ideas. i hope i am committed to continuing this work. in recent days, some people have passed if there is really a need for an islamic community center in lower manhattan. is it worth all this firestorm? the answer, ladies and gentleman, is a categorical yes. why? because the center will be a place for all faiths to come together as partners, as stakeholders and mutual respect.
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it will bring honor to the city of new york, to american muslims across the country and americans all over the world. the world will be watching what we do here. i offer my pledge -- we will live up to our ideals. that is why eight years ago i also found that a multi-faith organization called the cordovez initiative named for the time in cordoba, spain when jews, christians, and muslims live together and build together the most tolerant and enlightened society on earth. the goal of the court about initiative is to repair the damage done in recent years and to use this formula of a partnership between faith traditions to build such a new cordova. cordova. rdoba.
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the two most important amendments are to love the lord our god with all of our hearts, all of our minds, all of our souls and with all of our strength. the second, as jesus said, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. let us therefore reject those who would use this crisis and the sacred memory of 9/11 to achieve their own hands. let us especially not exploit the memories of the victims of that tragedy for the suffering of their families and friends. let us condemn the use of the holy text or religious symbols for political or financial gain or even for fame. let us a firm that the values of islam coexist in harmony with
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parliament peace-loving nations everywhere. i call upon you, upon each of you, to think of what you can do to make a difference. to that of government, some of whom have already reached out to me, make the spirit of cordoba multinational. let us share it with the world. to the politicians among us, reject those who would sell america's soul for short-term gains and public opinion. to the media, remember that while the campaign against terrorism is fought with troops and armaments, the campaign against radical ideologies is about winning hearts and minds. you, the media, can fuel the radicals or you can limit their air time. to the business community, do i
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need to remind you that in supporting moderation and peace there is even greater profit and prosperity? to my fellow faith leaders, many of whom i see here, let us continue the extraordinary dialogue that has emerged from this crisis. to my fellow americans, moslems and non muslims, i call upon you to reach out to each other in your communities, open your homes, break bread together, and extend your heart's in the spirit of friendship and good will. in closing, i want to remind you of an incident from the presidential campaign of 2008 involving general colin powell, a man i deeply respect. in october, 2008, general powell talked about seeing a photo essay on american troops serving abroad. one picture was of a mother
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grieving in arlington national cemetery. she held her weeping head on the headstone upper son's grave. you could see the writing on the headstone. it gave his awards. the purple heart, the bronze star, it showed he died in iraq. he was only 20 years old. and then at the top of the headstone, it did not have a cross. it did not have the star of david. it had the crescents and the start islam. kareem. k wawas he was 14 years old when 9/11 happened and could not wait until he was old enough to serve his country. he gave the ultimate sacrifice, his life. the photo came out around the
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time that a controversy had broken out over president obama's faith, an issue that has still not gone away until today. he is a christian. , colin powell said. he has always been a christian. but the really right question is, so what if he were a muslim? is there something wrong with being a muslim in this country? our answer as a nation then and now is no. there is nothing wrong with being a muslim in america. our answer as a nation then and now is there is everything right with being an american muslim. i pray to the almighty god, creator of us all, to bless you,
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to bless america, to bless all nations on earth, and to bless all of those who are committed to peace on earth for as he has said, blessed are the peacemakers. amen and thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. thank you for an extremely thoughtful statement. i will ask one or two questions about the immediate issue and take a step back and ask warner to about the larger and open it up to you all. the other day when you're asked about this, you said if i knew this would happen, that this would cause this kind of pain, i
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would not have done it. given that, why don't you want to it or at least do it differently from this point on? >> we are exploring all options as we speak right now. we are working through what will be a solution ultimately that will resolve this crisis, diffuse it, and not create any of the unforeseen or on toward circumstances that we do not want to see happen. >> if you were to go ahead with it in its current form or something like that and given the larger mission you have dedicated so many years to of trying to build bridges, what sorts of things could you do to heal the risk that you referred to that come about. what sort of options do you see for yourself to try to build bridges that have clearly -- to
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deal with some of the problems that have clearly been caused or at least manifested themselves? >> the large question with which all this is contextualized is the challenge that has been thrown to make is how do we improve muslim-west relations? in all of my work since then, all of my projects since then are based on doing that. for many years, people have always asked, where is the voice of the moderate muslim? where are they? where are they? we could not get attention. now that we've gotten the attention for the voice of moderate and moderation -- [laughter] i'm accused of being a moderate. in any crisis, the challenge
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that we have together as fate leaders, as opinion leaders, as think tanks, is how do we deploy our cells together in a formula that will capitalize on these opportunities within the window of time we have to do it so that we can leverage the voice of the moderates and address not only the causes that have fueled extremas and but enabled the moderates to actually wage this war against the extremists. that is what this whole situation presents. if you presume out from the trees and look at the shape of the forest for a minute, you can see that these patterns are happening and that is the calculus we are undergoing now. >> i will go to the 36,000 the level in one minute. let me ask one more question in order to achieve the larger goals, sometimes one has to deal with the immediate challenges.
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you can call a crisis or a challenge. this is conceivably an opportunity, as you alluded to. do you see a way of turning what has become a crisis into an opportunity, into something that would serve the purpose of building bridges rather than not? >> yes, and what has been so heartwarming is the tidal wave of of friends and new friends and people who have been inundating us and they have said they are here to help. i'm like a person trying to start a football franchise and 2000 people want to be on the team and i have to figure out to get the best 11th. players >> is compromise one of the tools you are prepared to deploy? >> everything is on the table. >> ok, i will let others see a they can [laughter]
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something tells me you are not prepared to be fair, i have had backgrounds in negotiations and there it are times where you do not want to get into great detail about what is potentially on the table. that does not necessarily advance the cause of trying to compromise. you have to decide how specific to be. that is obviously your call. >> we really are focused on solving it. in a way that will create the best possible outcome for all. that i give you my pleasure. >> i want to return to one of the larger issues. you said the battlefield today is not between moslems and non- muslims, is between moderates in all faiths. on one level, i would grant that you are right and there is the problem. on another level, i think that skirts over a real issue.
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99 +% of all moslems are not terrorists but when one looks at the world, 99% of the most dangerous people are muslims. there is something wrong a contemporary islam. you wrote this important book about what is right with islam. what about the question about what is wrong with islam? why is it that such a high percentage of the most dangerous terrorists are muslims? what is going wrong? >> that is an important question. i have tried to address it in my fate. political, social economic, religious, presentence ship by the media have all together created a witch's brew which has let us look at the issue in this way. we look at the underlying causes, unpacked them, and
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create strategic projects that help to address these core issues. the political dimensions are the most important. the arab-israeli crisis has been going on for so long, the presence of our troops in iraq and afghanistan which has expanded the amount of terrorist acts. by the way, we muslims are the biggest victims of terrorism conducted by muslims. you have a religious issues, how do we go around the issue of separation of church and state? there is a history of the last entry where we have had secular voices pushing the religious voices from the boardroom. these are among the issues that have fueled this crisis, this
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sense of alienation among moslem minorities mostly in europe than in this country. there is the sense that we muslims have to help each other like the jews are supportive of the soviet jewry. we have to engineer solutions. to understand the science, we understand the science of how to go to the moment -- a mo go to theon, but engineering this solution is important for it will need to engineer solutions and deploy them in order to address this issue. >> let's talk about solutions. what is it that muslims can do within the moslem world, radicals do not continue to have the upper hand? what is it that people have the
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muslim faith and are committed to moderation and tolerance and elizabeth -- liberalism, what more can they do to employ as the trajectory of their fellow muslims? >> they can address the number of issues, among them the political issue of separation of religion and politics and how we address this issue. that is an important issue in the muslim world. also, because we are in a globalized world today, what happens in the west has an impact upon what happens in the moslem world. look at the danish khartoum crisis. here was a crisis that was a media-created a crisis which resulted in a flare-up. never a crisis occurs, there are always people and forces that have agendas. they use it. when the train is moving, they jump on the train because it
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helps them to move to their destination. the danish cartoon crisis was taken advantage of by certain people with certain agendas to push their agenda. we have to understand the political forces behind it, the religious forces beyond it, the social forces behind it and manage it. does not about fixing things, is about managing. >> there will always be people with agendas. it might be the danish cartoonist for the pastor in florida, if he had gone ahead with his terrible threat to burn the qur'an, there would have been people who exploited that. where are the voice is pushing back? health and strengthen the voices who would say that what has been said is all full but this is not a justification. this is not a license for committing acts of violence against innocent people. what can we do to strengthen the hands of those people? >> we have to be strategic rather than reactive.
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a lot of what i have seen has been reactive. we need to have conferences and talk about the issue. that is like talking about what place -- players in the field to do to win a game. in order to win the game, you have to be players in the field, we have to have strategies that are formulated together, and deploy the strategies. what is absent right now is strategic planning to actually combat that. in a way sufficient to push back against that. look, the threat of radical extremists from the moslem world is not only a threat to western government, this is as much a threat to muslim governments. it is as much of a threat to muslim society. . people in pakistan are tired of suicide bombers. people in iraq are sick and tired of it. i remember going back to egypt
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after a terrorist attack against swiss tourists. people in egypt were mad and angry because tourism dried up. people were starting and it affected the economy. it impacts our societies. the misperception that muslims are happy about this, they are not. they are miserable. they want something better. and we don't know how to give it to them. radical extremists have hijacked our discourse. imagine what would happen if every time there was a suicide bombing there was a news blackout? what would happen to the extremists? they love the media giving them coverage. i don't know how to do it. i am not saying that is the solution. the way things happen right now is that we have a situation or
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status quo with the extremists can hijack the agenda. for all of our intelligence and smarts, we have not figured out how to quiet them down >> i could go on but i will show uncharacteristic restraint. i would ask you to raise your hand, wait for the microphone, introduce yourself, and limit yourself to one question and keep the question short. >> i am associated with ethan allen. i have had the pleasure of knowing imam for many years. i have made a suggestion that perhaps the time has come to take what i might call a freeze on the situation, perhaps to
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call a timeout and say we will hold up until you have these kind of discussions. you're doing a good job here and i think in the country, these kinds of discussions are needed and an opportunity could take place3 in my 45 years, i have not seen the kind of discourse that is taking place in this country. this is amazing. this is bad for americans. this is bad for muslims. there is an opportunity to take a breather and to explain and i think we can have the opportunity for you to perhaps proceed in a better environment. >> what about the idea of a so- called timeout? >> thank you. he is a dear friend and a chairman of ethan allen. our advice is up and looking at every option including the [laughter] that. >> i see a hand, yes, ma'am?
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i can't hear you. >> there we go. i'm from the graduate school of journalism at columbia. one of my students first persuaded you to go on to the page "of the new york times" last year. you mentioned the analogy of building a team together to create coalition of moderates. what would your dream team look like? >> you, ha richardas and farouk. i wrote about this in my book. it needs to be a concerted, coordinated plan of action. we need opinion leaders. we need journalists. we need educators. we politicians, religious leaders, fate leaders,
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academics, from universities and schools, institutions, think tanks, to create a place. just like football. we know there are agendas of other people have very we have to run blockage. football is the perfect analogy to the spread we have to create first downs. everybody is looking for a hell mary pass. it will not happen in this situation. we have to stay in the game, play in the game, and the opportunity which many people have seen in this crisis is that, like a football team when everybody is losing, all the sudden a first down is caught and everybody comes back into the stadium. i think we have certain opportunities here and we are right now feverishly thinking about how to put together the structure that will enable us to deploy more people in such a discourse and move the ball forward by managing the crisis
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in a much better way. >> a hail mary pass is a matter of far too far. [laughter] -- metaphor too far. >> good morning, sir. you speak of strategy. you speak of planning. in the early days of your planning for this mosque in downtown new york, did you anticipate the colleague -- the controversy this would create? >> we did not. we were surprised because when the news became public, front page last december, nobody objected. >> if you had anticipated as much as now, what would you have done differently? >> for starters, we would have
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tried to do it differently. we have had different stakeholders. maybe we would not have done it at all. >> mr. sorensen? there is a microphone right there. >> i am ted sorensen, a retired lawyer. [laughter] by coincidence, 50 years ago last night a candidate for president of the united states who later would become the first catholic president of united states was speaking, sitting on a platform much as you are to a group of protestant ministers pleading for religious tolerance and trying to explain the position of the catholic church. like you, he had to face a hostile question and a wealth of
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misinformation and he found himself forced to explain or defend so-called extremist statements made in other countries in other centuries which did not apply at all whether a the were"toward infallibility" or of the audience. words are part of the problem. i don't think the misinformation to which he and you referred is necessarily deliver it. people in this country know very little about islam just as they knew fairly little about catholicism there . people don't know the difference between islam ji or evenhadists. >> we have to get to a question. >> i don't think people are
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being extremists when day and ji pose ahadist -- when they a po was ajihad -- when they oppose a jihadist center in lower manhattan. >> i cannot run for u.s. president since i was not born in this country. that is a good question. i am not at all suggesting that people who are against the center are in fact radicals or extremists. that is a gross misinterpretation. that is not what i intended or man's. -- or meant. there is a lot of an awareness in this country so i urge people to understand and reason -- and read my book. we need to see what we end the stand we are all about. it is important for people to
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understand what are the causes of something. many people, for example, believed falsely that the problems in ireland between protestants and catholics were a religious issue. if you study catholic theology or protestant theology, you will not find the sources of the problems in ireland. the problems were due to an imbalance between the protestants and catholics in the power and economic ties. what happens in much discourse is that religion gets sucked in. religious identities become part of different groups that are competing for the same assets. it is important for this discourse to not only be able to explain that but find ways to resolve the problem because
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people think that this is about religion. therefore, they push religion away. if we don't identify the problems correctly, it can create false solutions and worse problems. in many respects, that has been part of the discourse right now. on this issue and on islam and the relationship between the west and the muslim world. those are the perceptions and the understandings that we need to correct. >> yes, ma'am, in the second row. >> i have a question for richard. you asked the imam what muslims should do to stop extremists. i am interested to know that here in the york we had people across the political odds spectrum basically ask a religious group to move their place of worship to avoid hurting the feelings of other people. it seems like when we go down that slippery slope, we are
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setting an environment of that helps to breed extremists. what is the council on foreign relations plan to do to help? [laughter] >> the council on foreign relations does not take positions on this or other issues for obvious reasons. speaking personally, i personally believe this is not a question about right. the right is clear. the question here is given the large agenda that he personally initiativee cordoba has, how do you exercise those rights?
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how the reduce rift between the united states and the rest of the world? we are where we are very we cannot undo how we got to this point. the policy question is really for you and not for me. moving forward, how we managed this in a way that serves all those interests. i think we have passed the point where this is about right. i think it is about the exercise of them very one does not always have to exercise rights 100%. one always has the right of exercising rights to promote for a larger agenda. you'll have to respond. >> the lady asked a very important question. the discourse is shared not only by what moslems said by what non-muslims say and do america is the global superpower to. de many americans don't realize
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it. our example speaks loudly. to the whole world. what happens here speaks loudly to the whole world. what happens here and what non- muslims say here matters to the muslim world. cannotde-link. this will have ripple effects by whoever is doing it. that is part of what makes the calculus so complicated. >> gr martyoss. -- martygross. >> you are a teacher. i am also a teacher. the relationship between teacher and student is a precious one. dealing with an asymmetry whereby the act of putting your center where you are, at the moment, appears as a form of desecration to those people who
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think it is hallowed ground. how does the process of teaching work when the students take this perception of the teacher to the teaching process the teacher wants to bring to the student? >> brolin question. first of all, this is absolutely disingenuous that the block is hallowed ground. as many people have educated and taught and tried to teach the public who are non-muslim, there is a strip joint around the corner, betting parlors, they claim it is hallowed ground. it is hallowed ground in one sense. let's clarify that. misperception. the important part of what i am trying to do in my work is that i need a space, i want a space where the voice of the moderate
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can be amplified. it is not good enough to teach were no student will hear you. we need to create a platform where the voice of moderate muslims will be amplified. every once this. non-muslims of what thiswa --nt this. in a paradoxical sense or in a poignant sense, this is an opportunity that we must capitalize on so that those who teach moderation will have a mega-horn to preach and teach the voices of moderation. i have been successful and i have proven that with people from my community. i know which vs two "from the
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car run and i know how muslims think. i know how to speak to them. i know how to shoot holes in their arguments as to what it is and what isn't in the teachings of the car on and our faith and his example. to qur'an tells the profit be a mercy to the nation. if we are not a mercy, we are not following in the footsteps of the profit and that is one of the highest ideals that muslims take upon themselves. >> we have time for one last question. >identify yourself and keep it short? >> voice of america -- at a recent demonstration near ground zero, there was a banner behind the stage that said "stop real law before it stops you."
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there were people there like news of stonings and honor killings and some people would say a that thecordoba in history was a place of moslem conquests. the question is -- what is the compatibility of cereal law with american constitutional law? >> absolutely coincidence, first of all. i have written and lectured about it. the fundamental right -- the opening lines of the declaration of independence -- we all these truths to be self evident that all men are created equal -- this is a fundamental principle of the eighti ramc fate. -- of the abrahamic faith. the creator gave these rights to west. this is a religious concept. among these are life, liberty,
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property, the pursuit of happiness. before these words were penned, muslim jurists called islamic law is intended to uphold six fundamental objectives. the protection of life, of human dignity, which i relate to liberty, to religion, to family, to property, and the intellect. what we do afterlife is pursue our have a desperate we get marriage to their loved ones, we seek material well-being, we see our intellectual pursuits, and we seek to practice our faith religions. in many respects we practice shariah law already.
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when we cleave estates our children, we are consistent with american law and islamic law. 90% of shariah law is not only compatible, but consistent or compatible with american constitutional law and american laws. the areas of difference are minor. moslem amenities lived as minorities in abyssinia. they are required to follow the law loss of land. the laws of the land. this covers the ground for the time being.
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>> we will not settle all matters of islamic jurisprudence or politics. let me thank you all for coming. let me thank the imam feisal for coming in answering our questions. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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>> the house returns from its summer recess tuesday where they will take up a handful of bills under suspension of the roles. the votes are scheduled for 6:00 p.m. eastern. tomorrow, a resolution honoring the anniversary of 9/11. they will also deal with energy efficiency programs for rural areas. tomorrow on c-span. now a discussion on the u.s. military's role in iraq from to the's "washington journal." tary for the middle east. you were in iraq for the
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changeover, the change in mission. tell us about what that experience was like and where you think things go from here. guest: well, it was a good experience. i traveled with secretary gates. we flew into the air base in the province, which used to be one of the most violent provinces. it's been pretty quiet. we visited with troops in ramadi, and then we went over to baghdad, where we gave an award, and there was a ceremony for his replates 789, and then we had the change of ceremony, and it was really an opportunity for us to thank the troops, but also to recognize an important milestone that was put othe calendar by president obama, which was the completion of the transition from combat mission to a stability operation mission. so it was important, it was historic. it was a good trip. st: colin is on a three-year
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public service leave from georgetown university, where he's regularly a professor in the edmund walsh school of foreign service. so the middle east, roque has en a huge part of your career and your focus, both in your studies, as well as in your professional exafflet in the administration. what was it like for you to see this change over? how significant was it for you to witness? guest: well, it was a big deal, beuse i've been involved with this issue for a while. i was involved inhe obama campaign as an advisor on the iraq issue, in addition to my georgetown affiliation. asian. i was a senior fellow at a think tank focusing on iraq. so it was very interesting to make theransition from viewing iraq intellectually to actually being a practitioner on a daily basis. and it was obviously a very politically charged issue during the campaign, and then candidate obama was very committed to whatever voting of moving forward that way that responsibly ended thear, so trying to execute that vision in office is something i'm very
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proud of. so in that context, september 1 was an important date. host: threats to uth in iraq, and it details a recent attack that happened there, insurgents that needed a vehicle outside the base. the reporters say the attack was a reminder unnecessary to iraqis that the shift in the american mission did not pretend an end to insurgent violence. itlso undercorpsed the ambiguousnd still dangerous position for americansnd their role as advisors to iraq's beleaguered security forces who face almost daily attacks from insurgents. what is the message to americans versus the message to iraqis that -- is it a different message? is the message to iraqis need to be we're not going anywhere, we haven't abandoned you, we're still here? how are they communicating at? guest: one of the things that we communicate to the iraqis all the time is that they shouldn't equate this with disengagement from iraq.
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i've had the opportunity to travel to iraq not only a number of times with the secretary, but also with the vice president, who's kind of e senior envoy for this administration on iraq's issues. one of the things that vice president biden always says is that we anticipate that our engagement with iraq will continue to deepen. it's just that the nature of that eagement is shifting from a predominantly military focus to a civilian focus. but we look forward to building a long-term partnership with iraq. the story is a very important reminder, and this story frames it the right way, which is we've made this transition from combat to military, but iraq remains a dangerous place, and our forces remain in daily contact, anthey're going to find themselves in harm's way. the good news is they're fully capable of defending themselves. host: where do you hope to see things in a year? guest: well, the first thing we have to do is complete the
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government process. iraq had a successful election in march. we've now had several months of very involved government negotiation. it's our hope that now with ramadan behind us that those negotiations will -- that their pace will pick up and that we'll got a government formed fairly soon. i think as we move into 2011, i think some of the big-ticket items that are going to have to be increased are number of outstanding political disputes, particularly along the kurd mension. it relates to their oil, distribution of oil revenue, and the status of certain disputed areas, like kirkuk. host: from the "philadelphia inquirer," this story comes from their service, a service in the "l.a. times." iraq neighbors eager to fill void left by u.s. it looks at where iraq is situated in the middle east and who's on the borders and what their motivations and interests might be in that country. as the u.s. troops accelerate their withdrawal from iraq, a fierce and potentially
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dangerous struggle to fill the vacuum is gathering pace montgomery the country's often bitterly opposed neighborhoods. to the south, saudi arabia. to the north, turkey. to the west, syria. iraq's allies and saudi arabia's rival, talk to us about what other countries are going to be lking for in iraq. is there a danger of them filling in "void," or do you even see there's a void? froip i think that's probably not the way i would frame t. all of iraq's neighbors have an interest in iraq not falling apart i think that's true. even in the case of iran, although iran's behavior is most troubling because they continue to provide assistance to certain shia militant groups inside iraq. but even iran doesn have an interest in seeing iraq become a failed state. but i think what you're seeing in terms of iranian involvement in iraq, saudi involvement in iraq, turkish involvement in iraq, syrian involvement in iraq is a recognition of how important iraq is in the region.
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it's one of the reasons why we're not going to abandon iraq, why we're going to continue to build a long-term partnership with them, because iraq's going to connue to be a very, very important country in a very, very important region. host: let's get to the calls. maria joins us on o democrats line from dallas. hi, maria. caller: hi, c-span. this is a great show. i thin that the votes are going to be the difference makers in this election. i think the latino votes have been aliened with all of the ruckus going on, is going to be the biggest change. host: you're talking about the midterm elections here in november, correct? caller: oh, yes. i think this is going to set the elections in november. i think this is going to be a big deal. host: as a democrat, what are you hoping to see happen in iraq? are you satisfied with the direction president obama is going in? caller: oh, yes,'m very satisfied with that. our website that we created,
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www.republicanscantdre.com, we say the republicans ranhis country in the ground. host: hi, thos, from detroit. caller: first of all, i like to thank c-span. i enjoy the program, being able to call in and participate. i have a comment about iraq in regards to the previous caller, the republican. she was talking about her son being over there and ob telling a big lie. i think president bush lied not only to the american people, but to the entire world, to get into iraq in the first place. secondly, as far as spending goes, even our most important asset, we're sending our kids over there to fight this war. i ink republicans are very disillusioned. they always seem to be able to be so easily tricked by their
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so-called repsentatives and driving this country into the ground. host: have americans hit a fatigue point in iraq? guest: i think we haveit a fatigue point in iraq. even though there was a lot of disagreement about how whether we should have gone to war in the first place, and the issue was probably the central foreign policy issue of the 2008 presidential campaign, despite the kind of polarization that surrounds iraq, whatever your feelings were about whether we should have gone to war or not, i personally wasn't in favor of us going to war in iraq, but i also would have been of the mind that once we did, it was important that we left iraq a stable, sovereign, self-reliant country, a country that wasn't a soue of instability in the region, wasn't a safe haven for terrorism in the region. so i think all americans, regardless of what their views were on the war to begin with, we also have an interest in seeing iraq move forward as a stable country, a country that
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is at peace with its neighbors and a country that has a relationship, a gd relationship with the united states. caller: first of all, thank you for being out there and having this kind of forum. really appreciate it. host: thanks for calling. caller: with our troops pulling back and retreating on the ground, do you think that the iraqi population, because there's going to be a little bit of a power cook you'll there, do you think the population would be a little more educated and a little more stepped up, or are they going to sit back and let their neighbors come in and squeeze them and do what they want to and keeping us safe and war going? what do you think? guest: great question. on january 1 of last yea the security agreement came into
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effect, and that was negotiated by the bush administration and the administration of mr. maliki in iraq at the end of 2008, and the security agreement called for u.s. forces to draw down from iraq over the course of three years, between january 1 of 2009 and the end of 2011. one of the benchmarks was -- was that u.s. forces would pull out of iraqi cities in the summer of 2009, and the obama administration moved forward with that commitment. so really, since last summer, the iraqis have had primary security responsibility for the city. we're currently at about 50,000 forces in iraq. when the obama administration took office, we were at about 144,000. so in the period of time that we've been in office, we've drawn down about 95,000 u.s. forces and the iraqis have taken over primary responsibility, and yet we've seen security trends in iraq
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stay relatively constant and relatively positive. iraq remains a violent place, but overall security incidents are at their lowest point of the entire war. so i think that's actually a lot of evidence that the iraqi people and the iraqi security forces have stepped up as the united states has stepped back. host: frank, republican in california, good morning. caller: good morning. yes, i'd like to talk about the war. what really concerns me, i thought we were going to pull out of iraq completely. the amount of money is unbelievable with so many people out of work in the united states, our jobs going overeast. we a major problem. instead of trying to fix the world's problems, we got to try to fix our problems. host: frank, are you still on the line with us? caller: yes. host: does it encourage you that the role of the u.s. has changed now we're in this operation new dawn phase?
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does that give you any optimism? caller: a little bit. but my problem is not with -- pulling out is fine. but every time we went into a country, the only country we have no troops in that we've been in is vietnam, because they basically kicked us out. we still have troops in japan we're paying for, we got troops in colombi south america. we got troops all around the world. guest: frank, one of the things you point to, which i think all americans care about, is the fact that we've paid an enormous price in iraq, both in terms of blood, and more than a trillion dollars spent on the war. the indirect economic costs are probably a lot higher than that, something like 4,400 service men and women have been killed and paid the ultimate price. another 33,000 have been wounded. many others have come back from the war traumatized. so i think it's important for all americans that we end the
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war in iraq in a way that recognizes the enormous investment that we've made in that country over the past several years. i think one of the major ways the president thinks about this is that it's very important for us to get out of this war in the right way, to do it responsibly, to do it with dignity, to do it in a way that honors the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform. and in a way that leaves iraq a stable, sovereign, and self-reliant country that's a partner with us over the long term, or otherwise it would be hard to argue that any of the sacrifices were worth it. host: the "new york times" reports today, american military units fir on insurgents while supporting iraqi troops northeast of the capital on sunday. iraqi officials said it was the second such episode since the u.s. declared an end to its combat operations in iraq less than two weeks ago. there are no american casualties in the fighting, and this is in a village about 50 miles from baghdad that has
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long what are ored members of a sunni insurgent group. are we going to see more of these moments where the u.s. troops will be, as it's phrased, helping the iraqis? guest: yeah, i think that the president outlined the change of mission from combat civility operations really means a focus on three mission sets. one is to continue to advise, train,nd support the iraqi security forces as they take the lead in security in the country. the second is to continue counterterrorism operations. and the third is provide other forms of support for civilian agencies and our military forces that continue to be involved in building up the capacity of iraqi institutions. i think in all of those mission sets, there's the possibility that our troops will come under fire. they have the right to protect themselves. they're going to continue to
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ads views the security forces. the incidents you mentioned and any other incident that was referenced which occurred in the baghdad area i think are reminders that as the iraqis take the lead in this fight, we continue to support them, our troops will occasionally come under fire. host: expenser in chicago, welcome. caller: good morning. thank you for having me. host: thank you for calling. go right ahead. caller: i think the administration should have gottenore credit for the withdrawal of iraq. i think the gentleman this morning puts allots of parity on what we expect and what should happen in iraq. i think that the iraqis probably at this point now can see merge as a friend as more than an enemy. you think it brings more stability in the middle east -- i think it president more stbility to the middle east. i think georgia and syria, all of those countries are more or
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less quieter now than what we sawn the last 15 years. guest: i think one of the thing that strikes me, i just got back from my 10th trip in the last 18 months, 13 times overall, is the degree to which the vast majority of iraq's leadership desires a long-term partnership with the united states. think that's because they see the value in having a close relationship with us, and we see the value in having a close relationship with iraq. i said it earlier, iraq remains a pivotal country in the middle east. it is really at the intersection of a lot of trends in the region. it's obviously an important country to the global economy because its oil resources. and iraq candidly has been a source of instability for much of the past 30 or 40 years work we valley have an opportunity to perform iraq from a source of instability to a parer with us in regional stability.
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host: sense you've been there and seen change over time, especial in the last 18 months, give us a sense of what the security situation is like there, both for americans who may be there, peacekeeping troops, but also iraqis. guest: the first time i visited iraq was in july of 2006. to kind of take your viewers back then and remember what it was like, this is really when iraq had kind of tipped into a sect searn civil war, and it was not unusual to have a bombing on tuesday that killed 100 civilians, and then the following day, 100 men would show up in a land fill with bullet holes in their heads, executed, and you have this cycle, this cycle that gripped the country. you were seeing 2,000, 3 thousand rouckee civilians killed every single month. fast forward to iraq today, and it's it will a violent place, but violence levels with much,
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much reduced from where they were in 2006 and 2007. our troops deserve a lot of credit in turning things around. the iraqis deserve a lot of credit in turning away from violence for their security forces stepping up. so iraq, you know, it's still a place where people are killed, but a lot fewer than before, and there are a lot more good days than bad days, and, you know, i think we anticipate that iraq will continue to make slow and steady progress on the security front. st: miami, florida, republican caller. hi there. good morning. you're on the program with colin kahl. coy yes, i'm on right now? host: you are. welcome. caller: oh, please. thank you. i got to turn my ear phones off and talk to you and still watch the program and listen as well. you know that i'm a very conservative republican, right?
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host: ok, if you say so. caller:. ok. i'm trying to compare iraq today, the conditions of our troops there, this lack of support of our troops there. we are committed there, and yet what did we do in vietnam? we turned chicken and got out. we lost our first battle of this century, or last century, whichever it was. and as i say, a person who has served his country from the time he was a boy scout until i served twice in the navy during world war ii, i was drafted, and y my father was head of the draft board. but i fooled him, because i had alreadynlisted in the navy as a seaman, which i did serve of at the end of world war ii, but got out instead of taking an appointment i was offered at the u.s. naval academy. now, this is just my history. and i speak -- ever what i
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speak of, because in serving my country during my experience at ucla as a wild, rabid conservative fighting the communists in ucla on the daily bruin, the paper, which we used to know them as the red rag, and are fority and managing editor of the "daily bruin," which i served as the managing editor, he served as the editor, were honored by the lamb times. host: we'll leave it there and get a response from our guest. caller: thank you for your service. i think that you mentioned that the americans aren't supportive of the troops. i think one of the things that distinguishes the iraq war from the vietnam war, the degree to which no matter how peopleelt about the iraq war itself, in general, americans really rally behind our troops and continue to do so. and i know in traveling with secretary gates, the first thing that does he when he travels to iraq and afghanistan is to meet with the troops and to express his thanks for all
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the hard work and sacrifice that they do and that they accept and that that their families accept, and to tell them that the american people are behind him and that he is the secretary of defense, going to do whatever it takes to -- to get the material support they need to get the job done. i will say, iraq is different from vietnam in another way as well. i don't think one could argue that what we're doing in iraq is quitting iraq or turning tail in iraq. the drawdown in iraq is actually driven by a security agreement, an agreement between two sovereign countries, our government and the government of iraq. it was nopingted by the bush administration at the very end of that administration. and the obama administration is committed to moving forward with that agreement and drawing down a responsible way. so no one's abandoning iraq. no one's quitting iraq. we're leaving responsibly, and we hope to leave behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant country. i think that's what we're actually seeing emerge.
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host: jal known arlington, democrats line. good morning. caller: colin, what a great face for the obama administration. they need more people like you who can come on and talk to the american people in a conversation with a serious face, a very, very well dressed. ads i say, most republicans are and the democrats are not, but you have done a great job today. i thank you so much. like the last caller and the tea party and boehner and all of those people who try to make their party a representative of the cotry, and try to make the other part of the country and other parties seem like we're not american. it is those callers that lose immediate credibility, immediate credibility when you tell other americans that they quit and run, that they're not american, that they're un-american, that their children service, that their
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past service, call us traitors or call us quiters and things that -- if these people that call in, which is why we created our website, www.republicanscantdrive.com. host: and we'll leave it there and get a response. est: thank you for the kudos on my fashion sensibility. i could actually hear my staff chuckling from the other room, so i'm sure i'll get grief for that from the office. honestly, my experience in government is there are patriots on all sides. we used to have a tradition in this country of partisanship stopping at the water's edge, where foreign policy was really an arena for bipartisanship. i think that's probably changed a little bit in recent years. there's probably some blame to go around on all sides for that. but i will say that as it relates to the war in iraq, i think we are actually moving forward in a fairly biptisan way. i was just on the hill for a sees of briefings in the last
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couple of weeks to talk about our transition from defense department lead role in iraq to a state department lead role, and i met with democratic staffers and republican staffers, and i think most folks are in about the same place. they're supportive of the responsible drawdown in iraq. they want to make sure that we get this thing right, so i'm hopeful we can move forward on iraq in a kind of nonpartisan way or bipartisan way. host: our guest is the deputy assistant defense secretary. he's on a public service leave right now from georgetown university, where he is a professor. . and you hold a ph.d. from columbia university. you can call him and talked to him. next up is lee from missouri.
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caller: i think the drop-down is a good thing. but i come from a family of warriors who have been in different parts of the service. while personal opinion about is, you know, a lot of people are making money off of this war. i myself feel that something should be done about this and that they should be taken care of, dealing with the situation that they have. host: let's get a response from
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our guest. had he made sure that they do not get too much of a good break? guest: it is a constant dilemma, because the nature of modern warfare is that you require contractors. guest: in world war ii o korea, it could not be uncommon for an officer to serve as a cook. we had cooks and a lot of mechanics and use of some of that, but a lot of those activities are now conducted by contractors. and you go to a dining facility in iraq or afghanistan and they are run by the kbr corporation. obviously, we need those contractors. that frees up more soldiers to actually get into the fight and free -- to get into their mission. but we have to make sure there is more oversight to make sure there is not more profiteering
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going on. i worked with the previous administration with this issue, so i cannot comment about that, but if you go back over the livni of scandals -- the litany of scandals, there is a lot of oversight in congress and in my building. we really endeavor to get what we need at of contractors to support our troops, also while watching out for war profiteering. host: va, mona is on the republicans line. hi, there. caller: it is easy to forget saddam hussein, who bush got rid of. it is easy to forget the election in iraq. and it is also easy to forget that osama bin laden was
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standing on the mound during the clinton administration when his secretary of state said he was in good shot of thsecurity people to eradicate h and he said it was not actionable. now, osama bin laden is the main source of all of the enemy's of all of bark middle eastern countries -- all of our middle eastern countries when clinton had the choice of getting rid of him. guest: what the question raises is the relationship between war in iraq and our, adding extremism and terrorism around the world. i think the caller is right, nobody misses that saddam hussein, one of the bloodiest dictators in the world.
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probably 1 million people died in the work going to war against iran. he was clearly a danger to the region. at the time before was in government i was not a supporter of the war, but i think there were peoe who did have u.s. interests at heart who did back the r. with saddam gone, iraq was obviously not a perfect place eier. and violence and turmoil core of the country in the aftermath of the major -- the invasion and we are just now digging ourselves out of that. regardless of where you were in 2003, we all have an interest in seeing iraq b a stable place, and that includes not being a terrorist -- a haven for terrorism.
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al qaeda did, set up shop in the aftermath of the u.s. invasion and we haven interest in seeing that it does not pose a threat to us aura out -- our allies in the region. -- a threat to us or our allies in the region. host: the iraqi security forces, what are their greatest accomplishments and what are their biggest challenges? guest: i think their biggest -- greatest accomplishment has been how they have kept the country together. seeing the iraqis stand up, that has been a long time in the making. of our appour iraqi security fos started in 2003 and 2005.
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currently, there are 60,000 iraqi security forces, iraqi army and iraqi police, special counter-terrorism forces and the like. we have drawn down over 100,000 and handed over serity for the entire country. again we have been impressed with which -- the degree to which they have been able to take over security. going forward, they will still have challenges. they still have critical gaps, like being able to defend their airspace. they will need help on training. there will continue to need logistics and maintenance. -- they will continue to need logistics and maintenance. but t plan is in place to continue to help them out and if we get the resources that we have asked for to continue to support the iraqi security forces we will make good progress by the time our forces leave over the next 16 months. host: we have a question over
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twitter best asks how long the 50,000 will stay in iraq. guest: general odierno, this is one of the things that he will have to make a recommendation for in the coming months. , he asked for a strong transitional force. the current thinking is that we will stay at dalal until next summer. the general will have -- stay act that level until next summer. the general was to make a decision as to how we will come down from that by 2011. host: charleston, south carolina, you're on the air. caller: i would like to know what we, the people of charleston, south carolina, can do for iraq. we appreciate this president and we think he is the best
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president in the world. -- in the old world for bringing it reported back. -- in the whole world for bringing everybody back. guest: i think what the caller is pointing to is that there are still humanitarian issues that the iraqi people face. and it is not just the iraqis to live in iraq proper, but the hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, who fled the country both during a saddam hussein and also during this war. i think the caller could do some research on line to identify a terrible -- identified charitable institutions working bo inside and outside of iraq. do some research and find a reputable institution that you are comfortable with and i suspect you will find a way to help.
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host: iraqis wonder about u.s. jobs employed on american bases and this article talks about how many are employed by the americans. what is being done to make sure they have viable work options, both to keep them productive and, essentially, to keep them from nefarious ways of making money? and also, how to keep the morale posted and are there opportunities boost -- opportunities over there? guest: we have a challenge when we closed down facilities anywhere in the world. it is true for it happen in alabama and it is true if it happened in kalisha. allujah.
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a higher percentage of the remaining contractors are actually iraqis as we have the drawdown. that way, money is flowing into the iraqi economy. but ultimately, this is not going to be something that our country addresses. the iraqis are going to settle it and their economy is going to be a way that unemployment increases. the good news is that with the investment in the oil sector increasing substantially, iraq has the ability in several years to become an economic powerhouse. it is exporting between 2 million and 3 million barrels per day of oil. that could double or triple in the next decade and i could have a profound affect on iraq as economy. host: what danger is there in the future, or even in the present, for those who everyone knows work for the americans.
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guest: was more of a danger at the height of the insurgency. one thing we would face in 2003, 2004, 2005 or in 2006 is that we would go into an area and cleared of insurgents, but then move on to anothe area. that would leave the iraqis that were left exposed to it and certain groups after we left and they would exact rich addition. i think -- and it would ect retribution. i think there iraqi security forces have gotten more debt and keeping that from happening. -- more adept at keeping that from happening. host: next call from south .arolina caller
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caller: i was watching morning joke earlier and there was a guest on that was against the war. when we are fully pulled out who is going to supply the weapons, the tanks, the bullets? we cannot continue to fight these wars? -- we cannot continue to fight these wars. and they're not even happy with iraq. and n we are dying to get into iran. guest: i was there recently with the secretary and we actually went from iraq to afghanistan directly.
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the forces that are needed over there are smaller than what you were saying. whether afghanistan can sustain that eventually, i do not know. i suspect that the international committee will have to support that for dot a few years to come. the good news in iraq is that they have the ability to sustain that. the problem in iraq is that they have certain logistics issues, aerospace and the like. -- aerospace and the like. -- airspace and the like. there is about tee or
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>> this c-span network. all available to you on television, radio, online, and social media sites. we take c-span on the road with our digital content vehicle, bringing resources to your community. the c-span network is made available to more than 100,000 -- 100 million homes. >> president obama met with fairfax, virginia, residents today. at one.
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obama said he hopes the democrats and republicans can work on legislation after the midterm elections. this is one hour and 15 minutes. >> thank you so much for being here. i want to give a special thanks to some individuals. i am grateful for their hospitality. they have a wonderful family and for them to open up their back yard foxcast -- backyard for us is very nice. thank you to the entire family for opening up and thank you for
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taking the time to be here, because i was telling john that a lot of times when you are in washington, you are busy, you have a lot of stuff to do, and you are in a bubble when your president, and sometimes you do not have the opportunity to have the kinds of interactions even when i was a senate or. these formats are terrific for me, and my hope is by all these people who are here with cameras and microphones and all that stuff that people will not be shy, because the point of this is for me to hear directly from you and answer your questions, hear about your concerns, and hopefully that will translate itself into some of the things we're doing at the white house. i want to make some introductions that i think all of you know that you have members of congress who are working very hard in northern virginia, and i want to
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acknowledge that. first of all, congressman jim moran. congressman gerry connolly has been doing terrific work here locally, and now on capitol hill. we have sharon walkoff -- bulova. and we have a couple of small business owners, because we can talk about how we can grow the economy and get people back to work. who better to hear from them in a copper -- a couple of small business owners. and we have sheryl, a small business owner, thank you for being here. and larry who is a sea of. we are glad you guys could join us. i will only say a few things at the top.
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i want to talk about why i decided to run for president in the first place back in 2007 -- 2008. having served as a senator, a united states senator, i had a chance to see how economic policies were having an effect on working-class families and middle class families for a long time, and my wife and all came -- my wife and i came from hard- working families, but because the economy was growing, because there was an emphasis on what was good for the middle class, we were able to get a great education, we were able to get scholarships. was able toad provide for his family and make sure that they always have enough and the kids had opportunities, and what it
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seemed like was for about a decade middle-class families were losing more and more ground. some of that had to do with changes in blue that -- in the global economy and greater competition, but a lot of it had to do with the policies in place, which boil down to cutting taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires, cutting regulations that made consumers and workers more vulnerable, failing to make investments that were so critical in growing our middle class over the long term. when i ran for president, my goal was to make sure that we get a set of economic policies in place that would lay the foundation for long-term growth in this 21st century so the century would be an american century, just like the 20th century to. that is what we have tried to do over the last 19 months in the midst of the worst financial
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crisis that we have seen since the great depression. the first thing we had to do was stop the bleeding and stabilize the financial system, and we have done that. when i was sworn in on that very cold day in january, as some of you may remember, we lost 750,000 oscar in that month -- 750,000 jobs in that month ago. now we have seen eight consecutive months of job growth. we were on the verge of a financial meltdown. banks were not lending at all. he could not get an auto loan or a consumer loan. now the financial systems have stabilized, although they are not where we need to be. the economy was shrinking at pace of -- an astounding pace of 6% annually, and now the economy
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has been growing. we have stopped the bleeding, stabilize the economy, but the fact of the matter is that pace of improvement has not been where it needs to be. and all whole we have dug ourselves in one -- was enormous. we lost 4 million jobs in last portion of 2008. we lost 4 million jobs, and all told we have lost a million jobs tree although we have grown jobs this year, we have not made up those 8 million jobs that have been lost. that is an enormous challenge. the second part of the challenge is to make sure that even as we are digging ourselves out of the whole, we start making better decisions so that long term we did not find ourselves in circumstances again and we start creating the kind of economy that is working for middle-class families. a couple of things that we did
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on that front. we cut taxes for middle-class families. we understand that people plus incomes and wages have not gone up and kept pace with increases in health care, college, and so forth. the second thing that we felt was very important was to start creating roles of the road again, so in financial services, for example, we passed a financial regulatory bill to make sure we will not have a taxpayer bailout, make sure banks had to operate more responsibility and take less risk with the money they are investing, and we also make sure that consumers are treated fairly because part of what happened in the crisis was people were getting mortgages that they did not understand, and suddenly the bottom fell out of the housing market, and banks found themselves in a crisis situation. what we have said is let's make sure that consumers know exactly the kinds of mortgages that are getting.
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let's make sure that they do not get steered into these pollution-type term -- payments where they will not have a chance to make their payments. let's make sure that credit cards will -- so they are not tracking you into paying exorbitant fees and putting you in all of the long term. gerry likes that one. we set up a bunch of rules in the financial services area, housing sector, and in health care, and a lot of people have heard about the health care bill. the most important thing that that was about was making sure insurance companies treat you fairly. if you have health insurance come companies -- health insurance, companies will not drop you when you get sick, which was happening.
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they will not deny you insurance because of pre-existing condition or if your child had a pre-existing condition. the set of rules for the role for how companies interact with consumers, how they interact with workers. the final thing that we have tried to do, the late this foundation for long-term economic is to put investments in those things that are going to make us competitive over long run. we have made the largest investment in research and development and basic research and science in our history, because that will determine whether we can compete with china and india and germany over long run. we can invent stuff here that we can export overseas. where investing in the infrastructure because we cannot expect have a first-class economy without a first-class
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infrastructure. that is an interesting statistic. china spends 9% of its gross domestic project -- prada on infrastructure. europe spends 5%. we spend 2%. we do not have the best airport is, rail systems, the best broadband service. south korea has better broadband services and wireless service than we do. over time, and the up and makes us less competitive. we have to make investments in infrastructure. a third area cut, with a third area, education. a generation ago we had the highest proportion of college graduates of any country in the world. we now rank 11th or 12th in the proportion of college graduates. we cannot win in an information
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society, in a global technologically wired economy unless we are winning that battle to make sure our kids can compete. what we have said is we will put more money into higher education, but here's the catch -- the money will only go to those communities that are serious about reforming their education systems so the work well. education is not just a matter of putting money into it. we have to make sure we get the best teachers, have accountability, the way we are designing our schools help our kids succeed over the long term. especially in areas of math and science, where we are lacking even further behind than we were a generation those are the things that we have been trying to do over the last 19 months. as i said before, the economy is growing but it is not growing as fast as we were like.
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over last week i put forward a few more things that i think can make a difference. number one, instead of giving tax breaks to companies that are investing overseas, which our tax code does right now, let's close those loopholes and provide tax breaks to companies that are investing in research and development here in the united states. that is a smart thing to do. we want to incentivize businesses who are making profits right now to say we should take a chance and let's invest in that next new thing. second, is what i have proposed, is allow companies to write off their new investments early if they make those investments here in 2011. he essentially, accelerating depreciation they can take on their taxes to front load investments now.
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that certain thing, pending -- the third thing, pending in the united states senate, a small business package that will eliminate capital gains taxes for small businesses, would help small businesses obtain loans, a common sense bill that traditionally would have garnered a lot bipartisan support, it has been blocked out by the senate republicans for the last month and a half, and small businesses are still having trouble getting loans, and what we want to do, although we have given them eight different tax breaks, is we want to say we will give you just a little bit more incentive because if we can get small businesses growing and investing and opening their doors, hiring new workers, that will be the area where we can make the most cars over the next year in terms of accelerating
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and climate and reducing the unemployment rate. these are all steps that we are thinking right now to try to move the economy for. i have never been more confident about the future of our economy if we stay on track and we deal with some of these longstanding problems that we have not dealt with for decades. if we make investments and improve the education system, if we make investments in research and of all, if we make investments for things like clean energy so we have an energy policy that is not just tied to imported oil from the middle east, but starts figuring out how can we develop our home grow industries, if we have a tax system that is fair, and helps the middle class, and that also at tenzin to our long-term debt as of problems, if we regulate but not with a heavy hand, regulate the enough to
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make sure that we do not have the collapse of the financial system and consumers are not taken advantage of and health insurance companies, if we do those things, there's no reason why we cannot succeed. i've traveled all alive the world and look at all the economic data and if you have a choice of which country would like to be, he still wants to be in the united states of america. we still have a huge competitive edge and we have the best workers in the world, and we have the most dynamic economy in the world, the best universities, the best pontifff of yours in the world. but we have to tackle these longstanding problems that have been getting in the way across -- in the way of progress. other countries are catching up. that is what we have been trying to do over the last two years. some of these things are hard,
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they cause great consternation. when we tried to get some common-sense rules in the financial sector, that means billions of dollars that were going to profits and will not be going there because you are getting a better deal on your credit card, and they are not happy about it. we have had some contentious debates. i want to close by saying that, ultimately, when i get out of washington and start talking to families like yours, what i am struck by is not how divided the country is, but how people basically have common values common concerns -- common values, common concerns, and common hope. they want to be able to find a job that pays a decent wage,
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give their family and their children a bright future, retire with some dignity and respect, not be been granted when they get sick. that comes across -- not be bankrupted when they get sick. that cuts across racial and ethnic lines. there is a core set of american values that i think people across the country respond to. what i want to do is make sure that the government is on the side of those a values of responsibility, hard work, the future generations -- thinking about the next generation, not just the next election. i think we have made progress, but we have more progress to make. thank you for being here. i want to answer questions. i know you folks in the sun are hot. i'm going to stay in the sun so that you know i feel your pain. absolutely. . should have thought ahead o
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does anybody want to -- go- ahead? i will give you a microphone. >> mr. president, thank you for coming. we appreciate this. it is a great opportunity. i am an engineer. you talked a lot about research and development. i loved every dollar spent on that, by definition. i am also paraplegic. i have a great interest in stem cell research and getting it furthered. how do we get this issue to be scientific, not political? >> john, as you know, i have been a huge supporter of samhsa research for very long time did when i came into office -- of stem cell research for a very long time. when i came into office, i said that sound science would govern. there are legitimate issues in the biotech industry and they
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will continue as time goes on. there are some very tricky questions. we have to make sure that our values and our ethical standards are incorporated into everything we do. we also have to make sure we are making decisions not based on ideology, but based on science. the executive order that i signed would say that we're not going to create embryos to destroy for scientific reasons. on the other hand, when you have old bunch of embryos that were created -- a whole bunch of embryos that were created because a couple was trying to start a family through in vitro fertilization that are frozen in some canister somewhere and will be discarded anyway, then it makes sense for us to take those and use them to a dance
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our scientific knowledge to see if, at some point -- to advance our scientific knowledge to see if, at some point, we can make progress on a number of issues. spinal cord issues are one example. parkinsons' disease, alzheimer's, diabetes -- there is not a single family here that has not been touched by a disease that could end up benefiting from the research done on stem cells. recently, a district-court judge said that our executive order went too far beyond what the guidelines congress had provided before i came into office. the way he had written the order it made it seem like even bush's orders were out of line and that he would have to stop stem-cell research altogether. we are appealing that and challenging it.
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what we will keep on doing on a whole range of decisions is to make sure that i am talking to scientists and ethicists and others in try to build a common- sense consensus that allows us to make progress over the long term. go ahead. >> mr. president, it is a privilege for me to be here. you talk about the small business loans. my company is a high-tech company. we are borrowing in providing high tech jobs to americans -- we are growing and providing high tech jobs to americans. how can we be sure that banking institutions are going to loan money to small businesses? so far, i have twice been denied a loan. i asked for an sba-backed loan. >> tell me more about your
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business. i have read about it. people here would be interested. you are working on clean-energy issues. >> i have two lines of business. the clean-energy part where we are trying to get companies to go green and change their practices. the second part of my business is the high-tech where we do i.t. consulting for fortune 500 companies. >> company clients to you have? -- how many employees do you have? >> about 94. >> we have doubled the number of small-business loans we have been giving through the sba. we have waived a lot of these because we knew that small businesses are getting hit harder than anybody during the financial crisis.
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the banks were pulling back. we tried to fill the void as the banks were getting well by making sure the small businesses could keep their doors open. even by doubling the number of sba loans, there is still not enough capital to meet all of the demand across the country. that is why this bill that we are looking to pass this week out of the senate and that we have already voted on is so important. it would take funding authorization to provide community banks who are most likely to give loans to small businesses. it would say to those banks, we're going to hold you accountable for actually lending the money. what we do not want to do is just help the banks boost their balance sheets without ever getting the money out the doors. over the long term, we think
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that there's going to be enormous opportunity for banks to make money with businesses like yours. yours will grow. they are still feeling gun shy because of what happened on wall street. in fairness to a lot of the community banks, they were not the ones who were making big bets on derivatives. they were punished, nonetheless. they have been hit really hard in the housing market. they have been hit on their portfolios. they have been trying to strengthen their portfolios. when we provide these loan guarantees through the sba or we provide cheaper money to them that they can then lend out, as long as we're monitoring them to make sure they lend that money to small business, they are the ones who are most likely to get that money out the door. this bill is very important. it has been held up now for a couple of months, unnecessarily. there was an article in "usa
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today." that said small businesses were actually holding off on hiring because they were not sure whether some of these tax cuts and lending facilities would actually be set up. you can hear some of my friends on the republican side complaining that we would get more business investment if we had more certainty. here is an example of where we could give more certainty right away. pass the bill. i will sign it into law that day or the next. right away, i think a lot of small businesses around the country will feel more comfortable about hiring in making investments. -- hiring and making investments. >> i have contracts and i am ready to hire 20 more people. nobody is going to give me an additional loan right now. i had an off the record conversation with the vice- president of one bank and they
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said they had made the decision not to loan to small businesses. it is simply more profitable to us to invest this money elsewhere. >> that is why it is so important to make sure, if they are getting help from us in terms of having money to lend, that they actually lend it to small-business is. we have to make a direct link between the help they are getting and them actually lending the money. that will be critical. who is next? over here. hey, wendy. are you? >> i am so honored and delighted. >> you must be his younger sister. >> no, he is 9 kid -- my kid brother. i'm meeting with that hockey team later. i was in high school here at woodson high school and i got
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involved in historic preservation. archeologicaln dig. i worked to restore a town host -- town house as a piece of the county's history. it launched my lifelong career in historic preservation. i know you are interested in history and its study, particularly of president lincoln and the way he created a cabinet and so on. i know you value our nation's history. my question for you is, what are your thoughts about what we're doing in your administration to invest in preserving and nation's history in our historic places and i also would say that the studies show that renovating existing buildings, restoring
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historic buildings is more labor-intensive than materials. it creates more local jobs for local people. i hope that might be part of your jobs strategy. >> i am a huge booster of historic preservation. if i was not, michelle would get on me. she actually used to be on the historic landmark commission there. we lived in a landmark district in chicago. this is something that we care deeply about. i would broaden the public to say that -- the point to say that not only should we think about historic preservation, but also about our national parks, national forests. there is this treasure we inherited from previous generations dating back to teddy
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roosevelt. that requires us to continually renew that commitment to our historic structures and our natural resources, so that, and olivia haveboliv -- when trevor and bolivia have their kids -- and olivia have their kids and you have your grandkids, those things are there, too. we have tried to ramp up our commitment and tried to put more money into it. a lot of it is not just more money, but more planning. the recovery act gave a range of grants to state and local governments around preservation issues. one other point i want to make -- you were mentioning how
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renovation often times will actually generate more jobs than new construction. a related idea is what we can do to make our existing buildings and housing stock more energy- efficient. it we could probably cut about 1/3 -- it turns out that we could probably cut about 1/3 of our energy use just on its efficiency. we would not need new technology or fusion energy or anything. if we just took our existing building stock in homes and insulated them, add new windows, schools, hospitals -- a lot of big institutions -- we could squeeze huge efficiencies out of that. that would benefit everybody. it would mean that, over time, we will look to help save the planet by reducing our carbon
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footprint. people would be paying less on their electricity bills. it helps consumers. the problem is that it requires capital on the front-end. a lot of school districts would love to retrofit their schools, but they are having problems keeping teachers on payroll right now, so they always put off those investments. one of the things we have tried to do through the recovery act and something that jerry and jim have been interested in is something called home start to provide families, small businesses, institutions like schools and hospitals with grants of up-front where we say, all right, we are going to give you $10,000 to retrofit your building or house. you are going to pay us back through your savings on
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utilities over a five-year time period. over time, it does not cost the taxpayer a lot of money. we are giving money out-front that will be recouped. there are a lot of ideas we can pursue that could make a difference and put a lot of people back to work whether it is the folks selling the insulation that home depot or the small contractors that remodeled kitchens or put in all editions. -- in home additions. about one out of four jobs that have been lost during this recession are related to the construction industry in some fashion. those folks have been hit harder than just about anybody else. this would be an important boost for them. >> that is one thing which is really not necessary to replace -- not necessary.
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to replace the windows. didn't somebody write about the caulking gun? >> cash for caulkers. good point. the gentleman right here. >> my name is mark murphy. welcome to our neighborhood. >> it is a beautiful neighborhood. >> my children would not let me back home if i did not tell them that they said hi. >> tell everybody i said hi. >> i am a labor attorney in d.c. i know you have some background in that. your labor day comments and your comments here today struck me and my colleagues -- about the shrinking-middle-class and the jobs that were lost and how you and your administration are going to replace those jobs. i work every day with working- class workers who deal with a lot of different issues.
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one of the issues that is dear to my heart is the employees' free choice act. for people who do not know about that, it is basically an act -- a law that would make it easier to unionize. it has proven that unionized employees get better wages and better benefits. unfortunately, that has not been passed yet. i want to hear your thoughts on that. >> a little bit of background for those who are not as familiar with that. the employee free choice act is in response to 20 or 30 years where it has become more and more difficult for unions to get a fair election and to have their employers actually negotiate with them. the laws that have been on the books have gotten more difficult to apply. a lot of times, companies who
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may be good employers just do not want the bother of having a union. they will work very hard to make sure the union does not develop. they will drive out the process for very long time. in some cases, workers who were joining unions or who want to join unions or who helped organize one may be intimidated. the idea behind the employee of free choice act is to make the playing field even. we do not have to force anyone to join the union, but if they want to, let's make it easier for them to sign up. the answer -- short answer to your question is, we're supportive of this. frankly, we do not have 60 votes in the senate. the opportunity to actually get this passed is not high.
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what we've done instead is to do as much as we can administratively to make sure that it is easier for unions to operate and that they are not being placed at an unfair disadvantage. let me speak more broadly, though, about the point that you made. some of the things we take for granted came about because of the unions -- minimum wage, 40- aws. work week, labor los these things came about because people were fighting for them. it was not automatic or natural. the other thing that unions did, particularly in manufacturing, was give a base for blue-caller workers to get a middle-class wage -- blue-collar workers to get a middle-class wage. increased demand. it meant that businesses had
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more customers and had more money. we now live in an era of international competition and that makes it harder for business. we should knowledge that the business environment now is much more competitive than it was back in the 1960's or 1970's. technology has made it more difficult for businesses to compete. transportation has made it more difficult to compete. the costs for shipping big goods from china to the united states or high-volumes from asia to the united states is a lot cheaper than it was. we have to be sympathetic to business concerns that they do not get priced out of the market if they are competing internationally. i think the best way to balance that is to make sure the business interests here in the united states and labor interests -- workers' interests
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are aligned. make sure that businesses are looking after their workers and giving them a good deal. workers and unions also have to think about businesses and not put them in a position where they are priced out of the marketplace. i think that balance is tilted way too far against unions these days. i think that, actually, if we had some of these businesses with employees who were there for a longer term or who were loyal, not worried about their jobs being shipped overseas, that would actually be good for the economy as a whole and good for businesses. we have to of knowledge that competition means that businesses and workers -- have to acknowledge that competition means that businesses and workers have to be it better- skilled, leaner, meaner, and we have to constantly invent more
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stuff so that we're working on high-end jobs not the lower. there will always be a country -- wages are starting to go up all little bit in china. the next will be vietnam or bangladesh. there will always be some place in the world where they pay lower wages. our vantage is if we have higher skills, a workforce that works together more effectively, businesses that are better organized. if we have that, we can compete against anybody. a good example is actually germany, which has a much higher rate of unionization than we do, but they have actually been able to continue to export at very high levels and compete around the world because they have such a highly-skilled work force putting together high-end products that can compete with anybody.
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right over here. mike is coming -- the mic is coming. >> hello, mr. president. i'm so nervous. i love everything you are doing. i love your vision. i am so glad you got into office. i love the health care reform. where i come from, when we have to go to the doctor, we go to the doctor. if we need surgery, we get surgery. when i came here, i found out about insurance and this and that. i could never afford that on the salary i may. my husband is in the construction business. hopefully that will come back. i work for fairfax county public schools. i have not had a raise in two years and i may not even have a job next year. i hear it is going to get worse before it gets better. do you agree with that?
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i know it is starting to improve, but how long do you think this is going to take? it sounds wonderful. >> first of all, you have a better chance of keeping your job in the public-school systems now because jerry and jim voted to close a pretty egregious tax loophole that was incentivizing jobs going overseas and even some corporations who stood to benefit thought it was ridiculous. they closed that loophole in order to fund teacher jobs and police officer jobs and firefighter jobs all across the country. that has been very helpful in assisting some strapped school districts. the economy is improving. one of the headwinds that the economy is experiencing is actually that state and local governments who have been getting really hit hard.
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we give states a lot of help at the beginning of this crisis because their budgets were just imploding. typically, state and local government get hit faster by declines in tax revenues. they rely on property taxes. with the housing market collapsing, that was really hitting them hard. they were looking at possibly plashing -- flashing 30% of jobs in -- slashing 30% of jobs in school districts. the most effective way from preventing the great depression was getting them help. the problem is that some of that help is running out. property-tax revenues have not yet improved. sales tax revenues have not improved get as much as they would like. local districts, states are
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still having big budget problems. they probably will have those next year. the challenge we have is, ironically, if you start laying off a whole bunch of teachers or a whole bunch of police officers or firefighters -- they do not have a job. they spend less. there is less tax revenue. it is a vicious, downward spiral. that is why the steps that we took were so important. i have to say, this is an example of where you have a fundamental disagreement between republican leadership and democrat. john boehner, who wants to be the speaker -- next speaker of the house if the republicans take over, specifically said, these are just government jobs. they are not worth saving. he voted no on closing the tax loophole that was in some that -- that was incentivizing jobs
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going overseas. it is just not smart from an economic perspective for us to allow jobs in the united states to go away while we are giving tax revenue away to companies creating jobs somewhere else. it does not make sense. we're going to continue to have some of these battles over the next couple of years. frankly, i think that how state and local garments can deal with these budget challenges will depend in part on -- local governments deal with these budget challenges will depend in part on how people making the decisions got -- will depend oin part on which people are making these decisions. i like these guys better. that is just my unbiased opinion. >> mr. president, thank you so much for visiting us here.
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it is quite an honor. i think my question is a good segue. we do face a political environment that has changed a lot since you were elected. with the upcoming midterm elections, you can expect a lot of new faces in congress. a lot of new representatives and senators have been elected on platforms that are really opposed to government intervention in the economy. what is your plan for working with the new congress to make sure that we get the actions that you see are necessary to end this recession? what do you see as common ground with the republicans in congress -- some solutions that can bring the recession to an end? >> well, let me just say that i do not believe in wholesale government intervention in the economy. my starting point is that, what
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makes us the most wealthy and and and the country on earth is the free-market system -- most country on earth is the free-market system. that is our strength. that is the starting point where republicans and democrats should be able to come together. we all believe in that. there are some fundamental differences. at the beginning of the crisis, for government not to intervene when the financial system was on the verge of a meltdown and we were shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs per month, the credit markets closing completely, for us not to intervene would have been simply irresponsible.
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it would have been irresponsible. i do not know an economist -- democrat or republican -- who would suggest otherwise. it would have been simply irresponsible. some of the steps we had to take had to do with emergency situations. a great example is the auto industry. when we decided to intervene -- keep this in mind. we have been bailing out the industry for years under the previous administration. the difference is we had never asked them for anything in return. they kept on going with their bad practices, creating cars that, frankly, in this kind of energy environment, were not the cars of the future. they never change their practices. what we said was, we're going to help you by restructuring. we're going to bring the stakeholders together -- workers, management, shareholders -- and if taxpayers
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are going to help you out, you have to change how you do business. they have. they emerge from bankruptcy and now all three u.s. automobile companies are operating at a profit. if we had not taken that step, we would have lost 1 million jobs in that industry. ford might have survived. gm and chrysler would definitely not have. the ripple effects on the economy would have been devastating. sometimes you make these decisions not because you believe in government intervention, but because there is a crisis that he must respond to -- you must respond to. right now we have disagreement on taxes. jim, jerry, the bass for a majority of democrats -- the vast majority of democrats think that because wages have declined for middle-class families making
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less than $250,000 per year that those families should get an extension of the tax cuts that were instituted in 2001 and 2003. keep in mind that if you make more than $250,000 per year, you would still get a tax cut, but it would only be up to the first to leonard $50,000 per year. -- $250,000 per year. it would be the first quarter of your income if you made $1 million. after that, it goes back to the rates when bill clinton was president. we had 22 jobs created, faster income and wage growth -- we had much more job growth. we had faster income and wage growth. we're still in this wrestling match with john boehner and mitch mcconnell about the last
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2% to 3% where we would be giving them $100,000 for people making $1 million or more. in an of itself, that would be ok, except to do it, we would have to borrow $7 billion over the course of 10 years and we just cannot afford that. i wanted to lay out the differences before i talk about where we can work together. where we have a great opportunity to work together is on the issue of our long-term debt. our big challenge right now is creating jobs and making sure the economy takes off. the steps that we a been taking, including -- we have been taking, including cutting taxes for small businesses, providing loans, they can cost money, but
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are wise investments because our number one focus has to be jobs, jobs, jobs and encouraging business investment. on the horizon, in the middle- term and long-term, we have a very real problem with the debt and deficits. i have to say that a lot of people who are under arrest -- i have to say that i understand the people who are upset. the people who are rallying. i do understand people's legitimate fears about are we talking our future because we are borrowing so much -- talking -- hocking our future because we are borrowing so much? i understand their concerns. they saw all of these -- they see all of these numbers adding up.
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they are right to be concerned. there's an opportunity for democrats and republicans to come together and say, what are the tough decisions we need to make right now that will not squashed the recovery, will not lead to huge numbers of layoffs, constrict to much too early -- constrict too much too early? we're starting to bring our debt and deficit slowly and to control. i set up a bipartisan fiscal commission that is designed to come up with answers. they're supposed to report back to me after the election. that was on purpose. we said do not give us the answer before the election because nobody will have an honest answer. everybody will posture politically. when the election is over, report to us, and let's see if democrats and republicans can come together to make tough decisions. they are going to be tough
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decisions. people, i think, have a sense that if we just eliminated a few pork projects and foreign aid that we would somehow solve our debt. the big problem with our debt is actually the cost of medicare and medicaid, our health care system. it is by far the thing that is exploiting -- exploding faster than anything. the population is getting older and using more health care services. if we do not take control of that, we cannot control our long-term debt. that is why health care reform is so important. we're trying to rationalize and make the system smarter. we have to look at the other pieces -- defends, food stamps. we have to see what we can reduce our costs over the long- term. we cannot give away money and think that we will balance the budget. it is not going to happen.
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that is one area where we can make progress. i hope we can make progress on energy. everybody agrees that our energy policy makes no sense. we do not have an energy policy. we have talked about it since richard nixon. 1973 -- the oil lines -- the lines at the gas station. every president has said this is a national security issue. this is a crisis. but we do not do anything about it. joinggestion is let's hands, democrats and republicans, and take the lead to try to solve the problem. -- take a leap to try to solve the problem. there is no magic solution. we will have to use a bunch of different strategies. efficiency has to be a huge push. with respect to the transportation sector, one thing we did without legislation that
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nobody has really noticed -- we increased fuel-efficiency standards on cars and trucks for the first time in 30 years. we got the car companies and the autoworkers to agree to it, not just the environmentalists. we have to look at nuclear energy. historically, a lot and harmless -- alighted environmentalists have said they do not like nuclear and it -- a lot of environmentalists have said they do not like nuclear energy. but it is a fuel source that the japanese and french have been using much more intelligently than we have. we have huge reservoirs of natural gas that are relatively clean. we have to use them in an environmentally-sound way. that is an area where i think we can still, hopefully, make some progress. the last thing i will say --
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some people disagree with me on this. they think it is too incendiary, too politically difficult. i think we need to reform our immigration system. we should be able to find a way that secures our borders and provides people who are already here a pathway so that they're out of the shadows paying -- out of the shadows, paying a fine, learning english, getting assimilated, but not living in fear. we should be able to do that. we have 11 senators -- 11 republican senators who could vote for it. everybody agrees that the system is broken. i also want to mention education. this has been one of the few areas where i have actually gotten some compliments from republicans. i think that the strategy that
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we have right now which is to maintain high standards, work with states in a smart way to develop curriculum, teacher- training -- teacher-training strategies, to boost our higher education institutions -- that is an area where we should all agree. it is indisputable that, if we're working smarter, if our kids are better-trained, we will succeed. if we do not, it does not matter what we do it because we will decline. i have time for one more question. i will call on this young lady right here. >> i am really nervous. thank you, mr. president, for being here. there are a lot of people sending you a lot of good energy. one thing might 82-year-old
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aunt -- when thing is my -- one thing is my 82-year-old aunt wanted me to tell you hi. i am a massage therapist. >> i have a crick in my neck. >> i bet you do. one thing i hear often is fear. on an energetic level, what i would like to see you get started, bipartisan, is to alleviate people's fears of spending $5. i know this sounds basic. if we go out there and spend a little bit, it will come back around. it works. you have a program where you have -- you are giving a tax
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break to those companies that hire returning vets. a $2,400 tax break. who are those companies? i would patronize those companies who are making the effort to hire these people. you have to spend it to get it back. there is a prevailing fear all the time. it comes down to $5, $10, whatever. you have to put it out there and it will start the momentum going. >> look, i think you're absolutely right that some of this is psychology. the country went through a huge trauma. the body politic is like an individual in the sense that, if they move through a really bad
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accident and you are in a cast. you have some whiplashed. -- whiplash. you are bruised and battered. it takes time to recover. we went through a really bad accident. it was a preventable one, by the way. if we had had some more rules of the road in place and better economic policy, we could have prevented it. it is what it is. you're absolutely right that part of what is holding us back is thus needing to go ahead and feel confident about the future -- is us needing to go ahead and feel confident about the future. some people are maxed out on their credit cards. people have said, quite sensibly, this is a good time
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for us to reflect on the fact that we were buying a bunch of stuff that we were not quite there yet. we should pay down our debt. people have been paying down their debt a lot more over the last year than they had in the previous five or 10 years. a lot of people were borrowing against their homes in home- equity loans. when people talk about us, i think they forget that we were, basically, living the same lives. it was only six or seven years ago. i still remember the first time i refinance our condo. -- refinanced our condo. initially, we had gotten higher
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rates. we bought in 1993. sometime around 1997 -- i do not remember exactly -- the rate had gone down a couple of percentage points. i thought it would make sense to refinance. i remember talking to the bank and they said, you can refinance and you can take some money out. i said, what does that mean? they said, your condo has appreciated so much that you can take -- it is like found money. i remember thinking, that does not sound right. but that was -- everybody was so certain that homes were appreciating and they would always appreciate. everybody felt richer. holmes suddenly started dropping in value. you don't -- homes suddenly
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started dropping in value. you know longer feel as wealthy. 401k's dropped. there are legitimate and real reasons why people have pulled back. i want to end on the public that you were making. -- the point that you were making, which is that we have averted the worst. the economy is now growing. there are enormous opportunities out there. there are people who are inventing stuff that will be the new products of the future all across this country. there are young people who, when i meet them, they are talented, energetic, and they feel confident about america. if you travel overseas, as tough as this recession has been for
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us, the truth of the matter is that most countries still envy the united states. there are billions of people around the world who would die to be here and have the opportunity to prosper and be part of this great middle-class of ours. what can republicans and democrats do together after this election? stop spending so much time attacking the other side spirit spend more time -- side. spend more time thinking about the opportunities we have. if we can do that, i am absolutely confident that we will move forward for a long time to come. thank you so much, everybody. god bless you. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute]
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[captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] that is why we have to get this bill passed. >> thank you. it is nice to meet you. thank you for coming. >> are you retired or still working? i tell you what, that is why you have a smile on your face. thank you so much. what kind of work did you do? wonderful. tell everybody hi. i very much appreciate what you have done. >> thank you. >> thank you.
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thank you. >> hang in there. >> thank you very much. >> how are you? >> what's your name? >> lynn. i am a mom. >> that is hard work. how old are your kids? >> 11, 9, and 7. my daughter broker her ar-- broke her arm. my mom says she loves you. my dad says good job on health care. >> thank you. how are you? good to see you. that is important. keep up the great work.
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thank you. good to see you. >> [inaudible] business?nd of gettingknow malia is serious about tennis. she is built for it. she is built like venus. [inaudible] >> this is for your family. [inaudible] >> these are tickets to visit their house. [laughter] >> my daughters. >> i can take the letter. canadian, too.
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>> thank you. what kind of work do you do? [inaudible] we have plenty of room to grow. [inaudible] >> we go through ups and downs. thank you for your time. >> good tos ee you aga -- to see you again. [inaudible] that is going to be huge. they are doing great work.
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one of the things about infrastructure is because demand was down, we are actually coming in under budget. people are working faster than they ever have. we get more bang for our buck. >> [inaudible] >> i just have to do more of these, obviously. [laughter] >> one at time. -- one at a time. [inaudible] >> i wish that [inaudible]
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>> they knew it wouldn't be popular, but they did the right thing. [laughter] [inaudible] [inaudible] >> president obama, what you
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think the chances are of getting a compromise on the bush tax cuts? >> [inaudible] [inaudible]
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[inaudible]
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[inaudible]
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>> thank you, everybody. [applause] [applause]